Directed by Johnnie To | Hong Kong/China | 119 mins.
Johnnie To is a Hong Kong director know for stylish gangland action movies of often epic scope. In 2015 he surprised many by releasing Office, an energetic and more-than-a-little-subversive musical featuring eye-popping production design and a sprightly cast fronted by confirmed megastars Chow Yun-fat and Sylvia Chang. Chang also wrote the film, which is based on her own stage play. Office focuses on a number of characters whose trajectories intertwine before, during, and after the 2018 global financial crisis. It situates matters of the hearty within the context of ruthlessness, corruption, and a plethora of unethical practices. It features immaculate sets by frequent Wong Kar-wai collaborator William Chang and infectious tongue-in-cheek musical numbers by influential Taiwanese singer-songwriter Lo Taiyu. If To’s crime movies often bear the clear influence of Jean-Pierre Melville, Office might well be an homage to the mischievous candy-coloured Hollywood frolics of Frank Tashlin.
- Written by Jason Wierzba